Private international law, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

For many years, our Firm has been providing advice and assistance to a wide range of foreign clients, whether domiciled in Switzerland or abroad, in matters of private international law, in particular family and inheritance law.

For example, the divorce of two foreigners domiciled in Geneva, or of whom only one resides abroad, very often rises problems of private international law for the determination of the jurisdiction of the Swiss or foreign court, the applicable law and the recognition of foreign decisions. In fact, depending on the family situation, Swiss law may be applicable to the principle of divorce and its causes, but not to its effects such as the custody and maintenance of children, the maintenance of spouses and the liquidation of the matrimonial regime, as a result of multilateral or bilateral international conventions and also in application of the Swiss Federal Act on Private International (PILA) of 18 December 1987. The same legal complexity may be found in almost all areas of family law, in relation with registered partnership, parental authority over a child born out of wedlock and the establishment of filiation (recognition, action to contest paternity, paternity action and adoption).

International Private law is also essential for the choice and conclusion of a marriage contract, prior to its celebration.

Moreover, private international law is involvedin any application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment, in particular in family and inheritance law: for example, to ensure respect for custody or access rights and the recovery of maintenance payments or private or commercial debts. The rules of private international law are also essential for the recognition of foreign civil-status records, particularly in the areas of marriage, registered partnership, adoption, assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy. The same also applies to the modification or amendement of a judgment handed down abroad, particularly with regard to the division of the second pillar (LPP) with a Swiss pension fund.

Our Firm is also able to assist foreign litigants within the framework of bilateral and multilateral agreements aimed at gathering in Switzerland evidence (documents, witness hearings, expert opinions, etc.) requested by a foreign judge in the context of proceedings brought before him in his own country.

With the IAFL (International Association of Family Lawyers: https//, the Firm has a network of family lawyers in most of the states of the world.


Our lawyers specialised in this area

Alain Berger


Jean de Saugy


Marie Berger


Stéphanie Francisoz Guimaraes